The inevitable day job

Discussion in 'Working in the Industry' started by Nathan Allen Pinard, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    And if that makes YOU happy, then life is good! :elephant:
    johnbusbymusic likes this.
  2. mc_deli

    mc_deli n trepreneur

    Feb 22, 2015
    For the last two years I have been wildly oscillating between these two:

    More day job = less music
    More money in = less money out

    Less day job = more music
    Less money in = more money out

    And it's not working. The day job is not musical. Even if it's only 20-25 hours a week on the surface it's still all the quality daytime hours.
    It's not working because of this less/more part. The only way to get good at this - and make a living - is to do it ALL THE TIME! At least that seems pretty obvious to me.
    I nearly choked when I read the post on here somewhere about a guy looking for tips on how to write emotionally for the feature film he's scoring. You can't write emotionally and you have a feature!!!! WTF. There must be 5000 people on here right now that spend all their time composing who would kill for that gig!

    Anyway, 1/ is soul crushing because there's like no music being made. 2/ is soul crushing because there's like no money (though SA take Mastercard;) )
  3. dannymc

    dannymc Senior Member

    Jan 10, 2015
    hehe very good. moral of the story, if you want to be a composer, don't get married. ;)

    InLight-Tone likes this.
  4. jonathanparham

    jonathanparham Active Member

    Jun 7, 2005
    New Orleans, LA
    or another philosophy: 'Happy Wife; Happy Life'
  5. MatFluor

    MatFluor Senior Member

    Jan 11, 2017
    Same here.

    My Fiancée supports my career choice as composer - in her words "as long as I can generate income and do what I love doing, I fully support it". That also means - I need income to justify that. I view it the same, if I can generate income, I'm fine.

    I am just starting out, getting jobs is hard. I have a dayjob and plans:
    - Current dayjob: Scientific Researcher in the field of Computational Linguistics

    - Future Composer-Supporting jobs:
    1) I just started getting into Sampling, hoping to create some income over time with special and niche libraries. Maybe later going into the "mainstream" of instruments that are already sampled.
    2) I am a longtime guitar player (16+ years), so when I have some room, I will start to give guitar lessons
    3) Freelance programmer - I'm a proficient programmer and I love it as a hobby, so there could be some small jobs for remote work
    4) recording engineer - after having built a professional studio for another band and recorded a few albums, some of which were played up and down on (swiss) radio, if Incan get a nice room, I can offer the studio for renting and be the sound engineer
    5) If all goes well, I have a mandate for psychological care in the Swiss military - which means "on-call" evaluations etc, which are of course fully paid (I studied Psychology before I studied Computational Linguistics and general linguistics. Why not Music/Film composing? Story for another day)
    6) Remote IT-Support
    7) Unlikely judging from I saw: Composer assistant. With my musical background, as well as my training in IT and related fields (Project management yadda yadda), I can be a valuable asset to another composer, a guy who knows DAWs, can make cues, is an Organisator and can keep the whole infrastructure afloat. But Assistant jobs are rare and moving is currently not an option for various reasons

    These are some options I laid out. I want to make all the money to live from composing, but I need backup plans. I am grateful to soon have a supporting wife who believes in me and my career choice, with all that comes with it. From the unstable income, Low income up to all-nighters. As said, as long as there is income, it's good (I think the same btw). It doesn't have to be stable, but without income, it's basically sitting at home doing "nothing". And we both don't want that.

    Is a dayjob inevitable? Maybe. But you choose your degree of jobbing. I work 80%, since I generated some income, I an confident to go down to 60% sometime next year. And in the future even more - so that I have savings to live off as well as a gradual shift from dayjob to composing, without taking too much risks.
    Farkle likes this.
  6. wst3

    wst3 my office these days

    Apr 2, 2010
    Pottstown, PA
    yet another perspective...

    I've yet to find a way to make music my sole source of income, and at 58 I suspect I probably won't. When I was in my early 20s that was a source of frustration. These days it really isn't. I don't know how I reached this point, and maybe it means I've given up somehow, or maybe it means I've found balance.

    This is complicated by the fact that I've always been equally drawn to the science/technology and the art of music production. Even if I was able to make a living as a player and/or composer (heck, can't even choose between those two<G>) I'm not sure I'd want to give up the tech side of things. I enjoy both, and probably about equally.

    Now I can tell you that chasing the dollar is not the answer! I spent about 5 years working as an IT/Security consultant. It was a remarkable experience, but I had almost no time for music, I was on the road a lot. On the plus side I worked with some of the smartest people on earth and learned a LOT about business - so while it wasn't terribly fulfilling, it had value.

    I also spent about five years leading a development team in the information security space. Even less time for music, and I hated it, at least in part because it had nothing to do with music and audio.

    The rest of my career has been spent working, in one capacity or another, with audio, product development, systems engineering, service/support, etc. And during those times I have always had side jobs that were more directly tied to audio engineering - broadcast engineering, live sound, recording studio maintenance and design, product development, and support, and oh yeah, music production, including composition and arranging.

    Ideally, or at least at one time I thought ideally, it would be fun to do all the side jobs with no full time job. But I lack certain skills necessary to go out on my own (trust me, I tried it, it was not pretty). That led me to the conclusion perhaps trying to be a full time composer might also be a poor idea. The skills necessary to run a consulting service (which is how I'd tie everything together) are probably quite similar to the skills necessary to be a composer - sales, marketing, networking (not Ethernet based<G>)

    On the plus side, and yes, there is a plus side, I get to make music, and I get to pick and choose (mostly) the projects I work on. I bring in enough income to feed the habit, and I've become wise enough to keep the habit modest, or at least within the bounds of the income I can recognize. I enjoy my day job a lot, and I thoroughly enjoy the other side projects, even the ones that don't directly result in music making.

    I don't know if any of that makes sense. And I don't know if different choices at different crossroads would have made for a better result (I'm not even certain what a "better result" would look like!)

    So I stay happy doing what I'm doing, and I try not to provide career advice.
  7. adg21

    adg21 Senior Member

    Sep 11, 2010
    The only advice I have is to NOT get any new sample libraries / instruments / update software (especially DAW updates) / buying anything new for your studio / trying to learn new stuff. If I have only limited time available that is the worst time spent ever. Put your system in lock-down.

    Also do not spend hours on forums, particularly this one, as it makes you lust after new stuff. Time spent on VI Control and looking at the latest sample libraries does not qualify as making music. It will probably confuse you if you have only have a limited number of hours to make make music
    Farkle likes this.
  8. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    Not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but that is ill advice. IMHO, the best thing a composer can do during the downtime is to continue writing, and getting deep inside your DAW and libraries so that you know every "nut and bolt" when the time comes that you'll need to utilize their potential. I am constantly learning, writing, and building my arsenal of sonic tools.
    ptram likes this.
  9. AdamKmusic

    AdamKmusic Active Member

    Dec 30, 2016
    I work a day job and have managed to score 2 feature length films / couple of shorts and a video game this year so far. Its tough but you make the time for it, even if it's just a few hours an evening!
    Wolfie2112 likes this.
  10. adg21

    adg21 Senior Member

    Sep 11, 2010
    My post was cautionary one for anyone working 40, 50, 60+ hours a week in a different job. There are only so many hours in the day. I didn't say anything about not continuing to write and getting to know every nut and bolt you have in your downtime - quite the opposite - so think maybe you misunderstood my point.
  11. adg21

    adg21 Senior Member

    Sep 11, 2010
    Basically some people might say "down-time", what's that?
    ptram likes this.
  12. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    Sorry, maybe I misunderstood your post, I took it as don't by new libraries, don't try and learn anything new, etc. By downtime, I meant time that you aren't actually writing for a project.

    Like @AdamKmusic , I work a day job (40 hours per week) and also find the time to compose (or at least spend time in my studio) on a regular basis. I get home at 4:00pm, and there are still at least another eight hours once I get home (plus weekends). The choice is easy...either you make the time, or you don't. I am always writing for something, whether it be a TV show, trailer, live theater production, commercial, library track, etc. The work is there, you just need to commit to the time and make it happen.

    I love the cynical composers, because it leaves more opportunities for the rest of us. :cool:
  13. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires To the stars through desire....

    Jul 30, 2016
    Miami Beach
    Actually it ain’t that easy for me.

    I could spend more time with my DAW, but after a long day at work, I have to spend some quality time with an IPA or a nice Lager.

    Music will be made by robots soon anyway, so I’d better not let the beer go to waste!
    Farkle, AdamKmusic and adg21 like this.
  14. s_bettinzana

    s_bettinzana Member

    Mar 26, 2016
    This could be really stressing for you.
    Since I am unemploied, if you want, I could take care of Job number 4 for you. Just to give you a bit of rest;)
  15. Gordon_hiphoplp

    Gordon_hiphoplp I am a visionary and doer...

    Oct 3, 2017
    New delhi, India
    Lol lol and lol, that was epic...
  16. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires To the stars through desire....

    Jul 30, 2016
    Miami Beach
    That is so inappropriate!
    Gordon_hiphoplp likes this.

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